My favorite small Kontakt library developers
Spitfire Labs is an experimental division of Spitfire Audio, one of the most elite developers of Kontakt instruments. The products of their labs branch are sometimes born during the development process for one of their commercial libraries, but more often, those are small gems from the personal collection of Spitfire Audio founders who are also composers themselves. Kontakt instruments from Spitfire Labs share similar traits as their more expensive brethren, which includes quality source instruments, in-depth sampling and Spitfire Audio’s trademark “imperfection of sound”, which is just one ingredient that make their products so realistic and playable.
Spitfire Labs has recently gone through a change in concept. Until now, all the proceeds from the sale of Spitfire Labs products were donated to charity, which alone was good enough reason for their purchase. From now on however, Spitfire Labs products will be completely free to use and download and they will come with their own dedicated engine.
Sound Dust is a company behind which stands composer and sound designer Pendle Poucher from England. His speciality is in-depth sampling and recreation of vintage acoustic, electric and electronic music instruments. The crown of his eclectic work are most likely Sound Dust Dulcitone instruments for Kontakt. Dulcitone itself is an amazing antique acoustic keyboard instrument, developed for the use by missionaries in Africa during 1800’s. Its tone combines timbers found in instruments like celesta, glockenspiel, vibraphone, music box and perhaps even steel drum, all at the same time! Pendle has captured all these traits in great detail by using binaural approach. Also, all his instruments feature immensely polished and unique GUI plus many features that allow users to easily achieve custom sounds. Sound Dust is among creme-de-la-creme of Kontakt developers and it isn’t surprising that a company like Spitfire Audio is endorsing Sound Dust in the form of bundle called Dustbundle.
Embertone has started out as a developer of small and affordable, yet incredibly playable and expressive Kontakt instruments. Over the years, they’ve became the leading force producing virtual replicas of acoustic wind and string instruments in their solo form. Unlike many other developers, Embertone has never produced large Kontakt libraries which offer dozens of different sounds. Instead, they are always focused on a single instrument, capturing it to the very finest detail. Although the price of Embertone’s products is mostly in affordable category, some of their more recent releases are quite pricey, especially considering the fact they are all solo instruments. For me personally, Embertone is the source for quality wind instruments for Kontakt and I have almost all of them in my collection. I must also mention that the company offers a number of Kontakt freebies, some of which are among the very best free Kontakt instruments out there.
FrozenPlain is run by sound designer and composer Sam Windell. His creations for Kontakt are sonically geared toward ambient, cinematic and new age music, which is the reason I’ve noticed them practically from the start. Although the sound sources used in these libraries sometimes originate in rather humble things, like terracotta flower pots, plucked and hammered guitar strings and kitchen utensils, thanks to the flexible GUI and complex FX section that can rival those found in products from Soundiron and Impact Soundworks, you can get very creative and achieve fantastic results.
This relatively young company was founded by a small team of sound designers and composers. Their first product was “Mountains”, a very small but fantastic Kontakt library dedicated to the acoustic and synthetic string sounds, which is still one of the most popular products featured on Kontakt Hub and Sampleism. Since then, they’ve released new products: Resona, Autumn Choirs and the updated version of Mountains. The GUI and the FX section was greatly improved and Resona also offer a larger number of inspiring sound sources. Personally, I frequently use Mountains and Resona in my projects and I’m really looking forward to the future products from the team.